Williams expanding local office

BY ROBERT L. BAKER
and STACI WILSON
Times-Shamrock Writers

Williams, the Tulsa, Okla.-based company whose pipelines deliver roughly one-seventh of the natural gas consumed in the United States, announced plans last week to expand its Tunkhannock office in a big way.

At a noon Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Stonehedge last Wednesday, Williams spokesman Shannon Spak said a proposed 32,000 square-foot building will bring local Williams’ employees under one roof.
It presently has an office on Warren Street in Tunkhannock borough.

Spak replaced scheduled Williams speaker Jack Walsh, technical services manager. Walsh was called away earlier that morning to deal with a crisis at a Susquehanna County compressor station.

In the Appalachian Basin (the Marcellus play), Williams’ focus is on its midstream operations, Spak said. “We work with exploration companies to get gas into use,” she said.

Spak said that many of the Williams’ employees, including her, were local hires and the company plans to add more positions in the coming months.

The majority of the positions available will be in operations and field services, Spak said, but there will also be employment opportunities in engineering, technical services and administrative support.
Spak said there is a challenge to build and buy talent in the industry.

Williams, she said, recognizes those challenges and has instituted several programs for its employees.
She also noted that the retirement of baby boomers could potentially create a “brain drain” and the company has developed a knowledge transfer to pass on the information of long-time employees to newer ones.

Williams is also partnering with local colleges, identifying Penn State engineering interns and partnering with Lackawanna College’s natural gas program.

Spak said the company is looking for employees with a solid work ethic. “There are long hours, call-in hours, and work out in the environment,” she said. She also said employees needed to be safety conscious.

A key part to Williams recruiting effort comes from referrals from current employees. Spak said about one-third of positions filled come from an internal referral, “people who know good people.”

On Wednesday night, Mick Goodwin, representing Williams on behalf of Milnes Engineering, spoke to the Wyoming County Planning Commission about the office complex Williams has planned.

The new office will be sited just off Rt. 29 near its intersection with Mile Road.

It is the same location where in September 2011 Bill Wilson and the Gas House Gang LLC had approached Tunkhannock Township supervisors and said it had an interest in placing an 8-pump gas station and mini-mart and office suites.

Williams purchased the property last winter, and its plans shared with planning commission members Wednesday reveal 20,000 square feet of office space in a 2-story building as well as 12,000 square feet of warehouse space.

The plan also calls for 112 parking spaces.

Community planner Nichole Wooten said that if all reviews/permits are submitted in a timely fashion, construction is expected to begin about August 1 and be under roof by early winter and allowing interior work during the winter.

Also at planning commission was consideration of a land development on the south side of the entrance to the Walmart Supercenter for a Verizon retail complex, to be known as ‘We-R-Wireless.”

There would be a story as well as three or four office suites adjoining.

The planning commission granted preliminary approval with the contingency that the county’s engineer, CECO Associates, re-review the plan relative to stormwater drainage.

Final approval would not be given until after CECO gets back to the planning commission.

A minor subdivision report including subdivisions of the Linda Holley Baker property in Lemon Twp. and the Kenneth Kachmar property in Forkston Twp. were accepted as submitted.